Bernie, it's time to come home
This is an appeal to Senator Bernie Sanders to bring his campaign for the presidency to an end and come home. The Vermont U.S. Senator has done quite a job barnstorming around the country attracting large audiences, fundraising, and creating a host of novelty items. While crisscrossing the country he was relentless in debasing the finance, banking, insurance, pharmaceutical industries, as well as big corporations.
Notwithstanding all that Bernie had accomplished, inevitably, he self-destructed at the second Democratic Party debate, held on Nov. 14, before a national CBS-TV audience of over 8 million viewers. It was in a way reminiscent of another Vermont presidential candidate, Gov. Howard Dean, in 2004, when the governor's campaign came to a screeching halt (literally), also before a national TV audience.
Sanders and his staff were quite uncomfortable when it was announced by CBS that the debate's format was to be changed in light of the terrorists' attacks in Paris the night before. Sanders was, in effect, blindsided when it was established that the debate was to begin with foreign affairs and not economic issues. He was visibly upset and completely rattled — his condemnation of Wall St. was to be put on hold.
So poor was Sanders performance that, three days later, the Rutland Herald, the most liberal of Vermont's newspapers, devoted an entire editorial to Sanders performance and wrote, "In a willful assertion of his own priorities, Sanders used his opening statement to issue the same, broken-record-like economic analysis that voters have heard a thousand times rather than take into account what was actually on voters' minds."
Watching Sanders scowling as he listened to Hilary Clinton's carefully chosen remarks over what had taken place in France, one could only conclude that he was more professorial than presidential. He had not gotten over his contempt for the CBS producers for changing the debate's format.
The national audience and the live audience in front of him were looking for their next Commander in Chief in response to what had transpired in Paris. Instead, they heard the rhetoric of a conscientious objector—with war being a last resort—notwithstanding France's President Hollande's declaration of an Act of War.
Not all is lost if Sanders, comes home. If he does he should relinquish his Senate seat and capitalize on his recent historic accomplishments. Why would he even wish to return to Washington? He knows (although he never includes it in his bashing comments) that Congress ranks up there with Wall St. in being corrupt, inept, leaderless and at the bottom of the public's approval rating.
Bernie should enroll with the National Speaker's Bureau Circuit. While he may not command the top ranking, of a 6, Hillary and Bill's status, in the $500 thousand per speech category, he surely will make it to 4 or even 5. And this is by no means a shabby placement –bringing in "honorariums" between $100 to 200 thousand per speech will be quite an accomplishment — especially from state operated colleges where he has been advocating free-tuition.
If he does go on the speaker's circuit, Bernie needs to change his message. The Rutland Herald had this to say about his being inspirational and his leadership, "Sanders did not inspire confidence that he was well versed in the complexities of the Middle East to the degree that Clinton is." In the area of leadership the Herald noted this about its Vermont Senator, "An unwillingness to go with the flow of the moment left Sanders talking to himself on Saturday."
Bernie should not let the editors at the Rutland Herald discourage him — in any event do come home. And in doing so, take a page out of Howard's, Hillary's, and Bill's post campaign books. You will find a much more rewarding financial future for yourself. And isn't this what it is all about?
Don Keelan writes a bi-weekly column and lives in Arlington.
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